The Custom House Maritime Museum is gateway to the rich maritime heritage of Newburyport, Massachusetts, the eastern seacoast's first major commercial port, a prolific center of colonial American shipbuilding and trade, and birthplace of the U.S. Coast Guard. Discover our unique and fascinating collection of maritime art, model clipper ships, displays of famous shipwrecks, the history of the United States Coast Guard, and much, more. The museum is managed by the Newburyport Maritime Society, Inc., established in 1968 for the purpose of protecting, preserving, and communicating the maritime heritage of the Merrimack Valley and its role in American history. The granite Custom House in which the museum is located was designed by Robert Mills, architect of the Washington Monument and U.S. Treasury Building, and built in 1835 to facilitate growing overseas trade and tax collection of imported goods on the Newburyport waterfront. Its vaulted ceilings and cantilevered granite staircases are hallmarks of Mills' work. Special Collections and Exhibits - The Moseley Gallery - The Moseley Gallery contains the Hall of Ships. This gallery has an outstanding collection of model clipper ships, including the famous Dreadnought. Built in Newburyport, it was the fastest ship of its time. Collections of models, portraits, and half hulls provide a one of a kind perspective into these historic ships. The Brown Gallery - The shores off Newburyport have kept the Coast Guard busy over the years. The Brown Gallery houses a collection of shipwreck and salvage items. The Custom Collectors Office - The Custom Collectors Office includes their office equipment, unique artifacts from far-away voyages and a remarkable portrait collection of early Newburyport sea captains. The Baker Gallery - In the Baker Gallery, a diorama of the Currier shipyard brings you back to the 19th century Newburyport shipyard that built more ships than any other U.S. shipyard of that time. The Coast Guard Room - Newburyport is the official birthplace of the U.S. Coast Guard. In the Coast Guard Room, see models of Coast Guard ships, historical artwork, photos of the Coast Guard in action and more. The Marquand Library - Sit and ponder the multi-generational link from 18th century sea captain to prominent 20th century author in the Marquand Library. Daniel Marquand was one of the 18th century's most successful shipping magnates. Descendent John P. Marquand wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Late George Apley.
Hours of Operation and Special Fees
Seniors and Students: $5.00
Free admission for active military members and children under 6
The museum is open year round.
January through April - for scheduled and arranged events (see website for details), and by appointment
May through December.
Tuesday through Saturday - 10:00am to 4:00pm
Sunday and Holiday Mondays - Noon to 4:00pm